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SAT

Unit 11: Lesson 3

Writing: Grammar

Writing: Parallel structure — Example

Watch Sal work through a harder parallel structure question from the SAT Writing and Language Test.

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  • blobby green style avatar for user Delight
    I got a question like this in one of the practice tests: That day, Martha decided to eat pasta, to watch TV, and go to sleep. Why is it not to go to sleep?
    (4 votes)
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  • blobby green style avatar for user daisyw583
    What is the difference between parallel structure and items in a series?
    (4 votes)
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    • piceratops ultimate style avatar for user Hecretary Bird
      Items in a series often exhibit parallel structure, but parallel structure is not limited to items in series and items in series don't have to be parallel, although they usually are in the SAT Writing section. An example of parallel structure would be in the following sentences:
      Usnavi liked cake. Avaneesh liked okra. Ionut liked pencils.
      The structure in this case is the subject, followed by "liked", and then followed by the item. In these sentences it's used to imply that Ionut likes to eat pencils, just because the structure was similar and the other two sentences were talking about liking food items. As you can see, the parallelism can also be used with sentences, and isn't limited to items in a list.
      Items in a series are just items in a list, separated by commas:
      I like to go skiing, hiking, and to the bathroom.
      Note how weird that list sounded because it wasn't parallel, and the last item was a full prepositional phrase as opposed to the one-word answers. This is why writers opt to use parallelism heavily-- it ties sentences and paragraphs together.
      Hope this helps!
      (4 votes)
  • duskpin seed style avatar for user kevinWatchTheLight
    Would it be possible to use "be" (NO CHANGE) if she was in the process of releasing her first album?
    (3 votes)
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  • old spice man green style avatar for user Liam Swayne
    At I don't understand why have released is used instead of released.
    (1 vote)
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  • starky sapling style avatar for user Aaron Izaguirre
    So if we're writing a sentence and a word breaks the flow of the sentence, it needs to be changed?
    (1 vote)
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  • blobby green style avatar for user Dulam Seshivardhini
    How can I attend Google classroom for SAT?
    (1 vote)
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  • blobby green style avatar for user Kenna Swauger
    What if there’s more than one word in each clause or section?
    (1 vote)
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  • blobby green style avatar for user Christian Mendoza
    what would be an example of parallelism?
    (1 vote)
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  • ohnoes default style avatar for user Chanpreet Singh
    if the sentence had been underlined from have written I guess, then you would have to select: be writing,be signing and be releasing because it said ''if you want to follow TS'',it means that the writer is going to do that in future (if he decides to) and hence the answer.
    (0 votes)
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    • starky tree style avatar for user Aakash Krishna
      But generally, at least one verb form is given so you know what the test wants you to consider as the verb form. They don't usually tend to give you a sentences with all of its verb forms missing. But considering what you said, don't forget that the sentence has "you would need" already, so "be writing" is probably grammatically correct, but "have written" sounds better with context.
      (1 vote)

Video transcript

- [Instructor] If you want to follow the footsteps of Taylor Swift, you would need to have written your first novel by age 11, have signed an artist development deal with a record company by age 14, and be releasing your first album by age 16. So this clause here, even before we think about the, or the sentence here even before we think about the grammar, it puts a bit of undue pressure on you if you want to be like Taylor Swift. She's bit of an overachiever, but anyway, let's focus on the grammar here. So if you want to follow the footsteps of Taylor Swift, you would need to, and then they list three things that you would need to do. You would need to have written your first novel by age 11, have signed an artist development deal with a record company by age 14, and be releasing your first album by age 16. So, when you read that, have you noticed anything? Well, each of these clauses have written starts with a certain form of verb, have written, and in a way you could say a verb clause, but have written, then you have have signed, which feels parallel to have written. It feels like the same form, but then you say and be releasing. Be releasing is a different form than have written or have signed. So this is, this last clause's breaking the parallel structure here, so I definitely don't want. I definitely want no change. If I wanted to be parallel, I would say and have, and have released, and, let me write that down even before I look at the choices, have, let me write over here, and have released, because it was and have released your first album by age 16, you have have written, have signed, and have released. That would be parallel. So I would knock those out, so let's see if any of these choices have that. Be signing, no, I don't wanna all of a sudden make this parallel to this, and then it's breaks with have written, so I wanna rule that out. Have signed an artist development deal with a record company by age 14, and have released your first album by age 16. Yup, this is now it's all, we have nice parallel structure. The same we have have released, we have have signed, and have written. Be signing an artist development deal, well, be signing, once again, this would break the parallel structure with have written, so we wanna rule that one out as well. So feeling really good about this choice.